Danielle Keenan Brings Stifling Defense

There is another high schooler coming to the San Jose State women's basketball program. 5-foot-11 Danielle Keenan of Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland will be on campus in late August. With a reputation as a sterling defender, Keenan will be walking on as a freshman and on scholarship after her initial season.

Bishop O'Dowd went 28-3 this season, winning the Hayward Area Athletic League championship and the primary Danielle Keenan contribution was defensive intensity. She averaged 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a contest, shooting 47% from the floor and 62% at the charity stripe. Self-described as the "Energizer Bunny" Keenan said, "I love taking players out of their game and seeing their frustration."

Kevin Cushing was the head coach at Bishop O'Dowd last season before retiring from the position. About his departing senior, he said: "Danielle is a lockdown defender who can guard out on the perimeter."

Malik McCord, formerly an assistant to Cushing but now the new BOD head coach, offered this about his protégé: "She can guard anyone on the court and has grown and matured every year. This last season, I'm so proud of how she took her game to the next level. She's a good leader and a battler who motivates others. She's versatile, having guarded the two, three and four spots for us."

Why did Keenan select San Jose State? "Sometimes, when you go to a school, it just fits," Keenan said. She knows a couple of the student-athletes already on the Spartan roster so she had some familiarity with the program.

What's fascinating about Keenan is her unvarnished openness.

"Early in high school, my attitude was horrible," Keenan said, "I would talk back to my coaches, question things."

But that changed as a sophomore.

"Now I listen and understand there is a right time and place for everything," Keenan said. "I'm just trying to soak it [directions and instruction] in."

Cushing begs to differ, believing Keenan is judging herself too harshly. "Danielle is a fun-loving, salt-of-the-earth person who is enjoyable to be around and to coach. I loved it when she came by the office and we talked -- time would just fly by. She's just someone who likes to have things explained. She knows exactly who she is and is comfortable with that."

Keenan's academics are fine. She's not settled on a major but has a keen interest in the medical field.

When asked how her friends would describe her, Keenan offered, "They would probably say I'm the weirdest person you'll ever meet. I'm very out-going. There's never a dull moment with me."

Spartans basketball fans will be looking forward to just such a player.

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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at kevin@insidesparta.com

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